Survey shows people welcome genome editing

28th November 2016

People affected by genetic conditions are generally in favour of new technologies to edit people’s DNA to cure or improve medical conditions. But they don’t want it used to alter the attributes of healthy people, says a new survey.

Genome editing allows scientists to alter people’s genetic code, by removing, replacing, or adding to parts of the DNA sequence. It is hoped the technique will provide many new treatments and cures for genetic diseases like cardiomyopathy in the decades ahead.

The survey was carried out by the Genetic Alliance UK, an alliance of charities including Cardiomyopathy UK. Around 200 people responded, with eight in ten wanting to know more about the science.

Key findings reported by the alliance were that patients:

  • welcomed the use of genome editing technologies in research and clinical settings.
  • believed that the benefits of this new and innovative technology far outweigh potential risks
  • were clear that use of the technology should be limited to treating medical conditions and not for the enhancement or alteration of physical or cognitive attributes of healthy people.
  • called for a regulatory framework to ensure the ethical use of these technologies that make the distinction between curing genetic disease and enhancing the attributes of healthy people clear. 

Read the full report here.